Thursday, December 2, 2010

Final Rule on Monitoring and Reporting on CCS

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a final rule (here) requiring facilities that engage in geologic sequestration of carbon emissions as a method to mitigate climate change. This new rule is important for three reasons, two of which are substantive and one of which is political. The two substantive reasons are: (1) carbon capture and sequestration is a necessary and integral part of any reasonable near-term plan to mitigate carbon emissions; and (2) monitoring and reporting requirements are critical to ensure that sequestered carbon does not escape sequestration and does not contaminate groundwater supplies. The new rule is politically important because it reminds Congress that EPA is moving forward on climate change, pursuant to the Supreme Court's determination of its statutory mandate under the Clean Air Act, regardless of all the climate deniers coming into Congress next month.

This rule does not solve all of the problems of carbon capture and sequestration. Among others, important issues of property rights in underground storage areas remain to be resolved.

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